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2017 IPO Prospects: MongoDB Files Confidentially

Posted on Thursday, Sep 14th 2017

According to a MarketsandMarkets report, the global Big Data market is projected to grow from $28.65 billion in 2016 to $66.79 billion by 2021. That translates to an annual growth rate of more than 18% over the projected five-year period. The growth in the industry is helping drive expansion in emerging non-row and column-based databases – the NoSQL databases. Earlier this month Billion Dollar Unicorn club member MongoDB, a big player in the NoSQL database market, confidentially filed to go public.

MongoDB’s Offerings

New York-based MongoDB was founded in 2007 by entrepreneurs Dwight Merriman and Eliot Horowitz. It was initially called 10gen and was launched to develop an open source cloud platform. It gradually evolved to a NoSQL-based database technology and rebranded itself as MongoDB.

MongoDB has developed NoSQL technology with the intention of being able to naturally scale out architecture. As its former CEO Max Schireson mentioned to me in an interview a few years ago, its technology allows organizations to string together commodity hardware to handle increased workload. Its technology caters to the new, complex, and unstructured data types that are being built and are needed by apps and programming languages. It is able to deliver a data model that can provide faster, real-time performance for app management while improving customer experience and cost management.

More recently, the company introduced a new offering called MongoDB Stitch that is aimed at simplifying the task of building application backends using its document store. Stitch allows developers to incorporate external components into a project using readymade integrations.

MongoDB’s Financials

MongoDB offers its database products on a subscription as well as a pay-as-you-go basis. It charges a premium fee for enhancements and services that include product support, on-premise management, platform certification, and superior security features. Subscriptions range from $2,500 to 7,500 per server per year. Its DBaaS offering Atlas costs $0.12 to $0.87 per hour and  the free cluster offers 512 MB storage.

It has been privately held so far and does not disclose detailed financials. Analysts believe that the company was generating revenues of $60 million in 2013. More recently, its management had revealed that it was earning “nine figures” of revenue with double digit growth. Till a few years ago, the company was not focused on profitability and was concentrating on driving revenues. It believed that through the development of a successful platform, the profits would follow. It is still unclear if it has achieved profitability. There have been rumblings in the market that the company has been struggling to arrive at a sustainable business model with a few analysts doubting its ability to ever build one.

MongoDB is venture funded and has raised $300 million from investors including Union Square Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital, Red Hat, Intel Capital, In-Q-Tel, New Enterprise Associates, EMC, Salesforce, Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, and Altimeter Capital. Its last round of funding was held in January 2015 when it raised $80 million at an undisclosed valuation. Analysts estimate its valuation at $1.8 billion.

Recently MongoDB filed its S1 confidentially under the JOBS Act. More detailed financials for the company will be revealed closer to the date of listing. But the market is looking forward to both the information and the actual listing. When it lists, it will become the first IPO in the non-Hadoop Big Data space. As Noel Yuhanna, principal analyst at Forrester puts it, the IPO will encourage others like MarkLogic, DataStax, Couchbase, Neo Technology, and Redis Labs to ramp-up their offering and sales and open them up to the idea of listing.

More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.

Photo Credit: Garrett Heath/

This segment is a part in the series : 2017 IPO Prospects

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